[/one_fourth]While there are low-cost (and some free) tools that can be used to simply ‘get your orders into the accounting system’, a well-designed (and supported) commercial integration can better support how your business records General Ledger transactions and actually help you sell more product; thus paying for itself in an extremely short period of time.
If you are a developer that has been tasked with sourcing an eCommerce integration for a client, it is highly recommended that you confer with your client regarding the following criteria. Business owners tend to be more concerned with the continuity and capability of their operations than trying to save a few hundred dollars. Failing even one of the following criteria can turn the money/time your client spends on a lesser product, into a sunk-cost.
Compare Product Features Important to Your Business
Are these factors important to you?
- Recognizes G/L accounts of individual items?
- Rule-based creation of customer names?
- Updates using Invent. Avail. vs. Qty. on-hand?
- Phone orders trigger inventory updates?
- Detailed feature-list to aid your decision?
- Try before you buy! No money up-front.
- History of positive reviews?
- Money-back Guarantee?
- Phone number indicated on website?
- Support for Assembly-based products?
- Support for QuickBooks Group-Item products?
- Recognizes CC used in transaction?
- NO Per/Order transaction fees?
Consider the CartSpan value-proposition vs. integrations that ‘just get you by’
Competitive integrations like the ones compared above tend to utilize a common ledger account for items, regardless of how you have them configured on the QuickBooks side. Most businesses classify their products differently for the purpose of analyzing sales. This capability is lost because there is no dynamic interaction with the QuickBooks company file to support this detail in the import.
Also, many competitive integrations do not recognize assembled product types in the QuickBooks system. If you are offering anything other than the basic ‘Inventory Item’ in QuickBooks, you may have difficulties importing them properly into the accounting system from OpenCart. The CartSpan integration for OpenCart closes this gap beautifully and even provides advanced support the ‘Group Item’ type in QuickBooks.
Relying upon your integration to help increase your sales has less to do with the order import side of the equation than with the practice of effective stock management between systems. If you have a significant number of products to manage and don’t update availability in OpenCart in a timely manner, you are losing significant income opportunities.
Hard Benefits: CartSpan provides a deep integration with both QuickBooks and Sage 50 to provide you with near real-time updates of product availability in your store. So, as soon as you receive stock into the accounting system or accept a new order over the phone, CartSpan sees the new inventory and will pushes an updated quantity-available to OpenCart. If you are a manufacturer, CartSpan offers a stock management feature that projects how many of an assembled item you can offer based upon supporting stock. See our blog post, Inventory Management for Assembled Product Types, for details on how this feature can increase your earnings.
Soft Benefits: Don’t discount the ‘softer’ side of how a good integration can maximize the use of your accounting system. If you are constantly changing, adjusting, or ‘tweaking’ your imports to reflect how you do business, you might ask yourself, Am I really saving that much time? CartSpan is built for QuickBooks and Sage 50 and maximizes integration opportunities of each. These finer points of integration can be found on our Product Features page for order imports as well as for inventory updates.
OpenCart is packed with useful features that are not typically included in standard open-source offerings. These features include: Pricing/quantity discounts by customer groups, capture of item-level product options (a.k.a. ‘variants’), gift certificates, and affiliate management.
During the development of the CartSpan integration we found the configurable product options to be especially flexible in that they allow multiple selection mechanisms to be utilized; mechanisms such as radio buttons, free-form text, and drop-down lists. These user-selected options are conveniently appended to the base description of the item during the import process.
For businesses that track online sales by sales representative or affilitate, OpenCart provides a small but useful feature, differentiating itself from other carts. Rather than providing just an integer-based reference of the affiliate, OpenCart allows a meaningful ‘code’ to be associated with the affiliate. This code can then be expressed as an actual Sales Rep ID that can be perfectly mapped to the QuickBooks/Sage 50 U.S. import.
From a broader development/implementation perspective, OpenCart has had the foresight to support multiple stores within the same database. So, if you are a merchant with multiple storefronts, and would like to handle them from within one administrative environment, OpenCart is a great option.
One tricky aspect of integration with OpenCart, which CartSpan handles flexibly, is the cross-reference between items in the cart and those in the accounting system. CartSpan allows you to indicate either the ‘sku’ or the ‘model’ field to serve this purpose. This is helpful if you have already committed one or the other fields to some other purpose in the cart.
We also offer native support for some very popular community extensions:
Purchase Order by qphoria (developer) – If you are conducting a lot of Business-to-Business eCommerce and your customer want to provided you a Purchase Order for the sale, this is an effective and very low-cost extension to get the job done. CartSpan will simply import the PO provided into the appropriate field on the order or invoice in the accounting import. See the details of this extension Here.
Auto Discount by qphoria (developer) – If you would like to reward your customers with an automatic discount based on order total-value or item total-quantity, this is a useful extension to have. See the details of this extension Here.